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Analysis of daniel golemans what makes a leader?

Lauren smith


Daniel Goleman opens his article with a quick reference about a leader who
fails and a leader who soars when given similar opportunities. What
determines who has the right stuff to be a truly great leader?

Goleman believes each leadership situation is to be studied as unique but

one common thread is undeniablea high level of emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Dont discount IQ or practical (technical) skillsthese are important, too!

These are necessary without sayingautomatic requirements for a leader in
a capacity.

Golemans research supports the theory that successful leadership is nearly

impossible without a high functioning level of emotional intelligence.

Lets explore ways to evaluate and determine a leaders emotional


Competency models

According to Goleman, many industries are using experts to determine who

has the right stuff for a justifiable and sensible promotion.

Comprehensive models designed with each specific companys needs in mind

help experts such as psychologists determine which individual will most
appropriately suit the companys needs for a leader.

Emotional intelligence within competency models

Golemans research suggested emotional intelligence was twice as

important as other skills such as intellect and cognitive skills (94).

As the individual ascended within the ranks of a company, so then did their
level of emotional intelligence ratio in relation to their leadership success.

Goleman ties emotional intelligence directly to leadership success through

this research. This is supported by works of famed late researcher david
McClelland (94).

Five components of Emotional intelligence

1. Self-awareness
2. Self-regulation
3. Motivation
4. Empathy
5. Social skill


Defined by Goleman as the ability to recognize and understand your moods,

emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others.

Traits associated include: self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, selfdeprecating sense of humor.


Defined as the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods;

the propensity to suspend judgment-to think before acting

Traits include: trustworthiness and integrity, comfort with ambiguity,

openness to change


Defined as a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status; a

propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence

Traits include: strong drive to achieve, optimism even in face of failure,

organizational commitment


Defined as the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people;

skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions

Traits include: expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural

sensitivity, service to clients and customers

Social skill

Defined as proficiency in managing relationships and building networks; an

ability to find common ground and build rapport

Traits include: effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, expertise in

building and leading teams.

Innate or learned?

While Goleman makes it clear that there are five key characteristics
necessary to possess emotional intelligence, the question of whether this
ability can be learned is slightly murkier.

Goleman tells us what we already knowage brings wisdom and an increase

in our emotional intelligence levels along with it. Butcan we teach our
younger contemporaries to possess the same level of emotional intelligence
as individuals twice their age?

Neurologicalbut learned as well!

Goleman tells us that emotional intelligence is in fact tied to the limbic

system within the brainno training is complete without including this
portion of the neurological system!

Goleman reminds the reader that when tested, an individuals commitment to

leadership will only strengthen if their enthusiasm for it is present as well, a
paraphrase of Ralph Waldo Emerson (97).


Leadership is fully achieved through emotional intelligence, which in itself can

only be achieved through time, persistence, and commitment.

Without emotional intelligence, leadership is ineffectual, remote, and distant.

True leaders show empathy, humanity, and relate to their peers and
subordinates alike.

Works cited

Goleman, Daniel. What Makes a Leader?. November-December 1998,

Harvard Business Review.